The Beach Times

The Past and Present of Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 27, 2020

four seas ice cream

Have you ever wondered why Cape Cod has such a massive ice cream scene?

It seems as though you can't walk more than a couple of blocks on some parts of the Cape without coming across an ice cream shop, as locals and visitors alike expect to find these sweet treats everywhere in the summer.

While we don't know why Cape Cod ice cream is so popular, Four Seas Ice Cream might have something to do with it.

You see, there was a time when Four Seas Ice Cream was a known hangout for members of the Kennedy family, and their love of this particular shop is well documented.

National publications would show pictures of the Kennedy family enjoying some ice cream from Four Seas, making people around the country aware of these desserts on the Cape.

We can't say for sure that the Kennedys are responsible for the popularity of ice cream here, but we do know that people return to places like Four Seas year after year because of the quality flavors they produce.

The History of the Shop

Four Seas Ice Cream is Cape Cod's oldest ice cream shop, having opened its doors in 1934. The store comes from humble beginnings, as W. Wells Watson, an insurance salesperson from Boston, purchased an old blacksmith's shop, converting it into its current form.

Watson, along with a partner, lost a lot of money in the first few years, but after buying out the partner, the shop exploded in popularity, becoming an integral part of summers on Cape Cod.

In 1960, Watson sold the shop to Richard Warren, a new college graduate who had worked at the shop in the summers. Warren operated the shop with wife, Georgia, and later his second wife, Linda, until 1999 when he transitioned ownership to his son, Douglas.

Today, Douglas and his wife, Peggy, still own and operate the shop, making every batch of ice cream by hand in the backroom, just as it has been done since 1934.

The shop looks just as it did in 1934, as well, except for some new coats of paint and a few modern upgrades.

Four Seas Ice Cream is an institution in Centerville, and if all goes according to plan, it will remain as such for generations to come.

What's on the Menu?

As you might expect, the main item on the menu at Four Seas Ice Cream is ice cream, as they have dozens of flavors available at any given time.

Some flavors are seasonal, such as fresh strawberry, which is made with strawberries picked on Cape Cod. In addition, the store's peach flavored ice cream is only available when southern peaches are ripe because Doug Warren believes they're far superior to California peaches.

Other seasonal flavors include gingerbread, creme brulee, egg nog, pumpkin spice, and cranberry bog, and there is a selection of sherbets and non-dairy options, as well.

In addition to ice cream, you can also get a light lunch at Four Seas Ice Cream, with the headliner being the shop's famous lobster rolls. Other options include hot dogs, mac and cheese, soup, chili, lobster salad, and a variety of sandwiches.

The menu at Four Seas Ice Cream might be small, but you're sure to find anything you could ever want at an ice cream shop here.

The Ice Cream Making Process

Everything available at Four Seas Ice Cream is made in the backroom of the building by hand. As a result, during the peak season, Doug and Peggy Warren will make as much as 680 gallons of ice cream per day, all using one machine.

The process begins by pouring an ice cream base mix into a hand-powered churn, which is what creates the ice cream. After everything is mixed, the flavors are added, and the final product is stored in containers.

The containers of ice cream are kept in freezers, with the main freezer being about the same size as the entire front room of the shop. The large size is because the store needs to keep an incredible amount of product on hand in the summer since it's so busy.

Visiting Four Seas Ice Cream

Take the time to visit Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville during your Cape Cod vacation, and you won't be disappointed. While it's likely that you'll encounter a line during the peak season, it moves quickly because most people are only ordering ice cream.

The shop is located on South Main Street in Centerville, 0.6 miles from Craigville Beach. As a result, you can walk to the shop from the beach in about 10 minutes, or drive in two minutes, if you're not worried about giving up your parking spot.

Four Seas Ice Cream is a significant part of the past, present, and future of Centerville. If your vacation rental is in this area, make sure you stop by for a cone.

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